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  1. #1
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Just how much would YOU spend on a new Website? $178,000?
    Wow! $178,000 for new Ocean City website? Officials Tout Resort's Improved Web Presence - http://tinyurl.com/rywmjb

    That was one of my morning Tweets (Twitter.com/OceanCity) - just after I found that article in the local newspaper (online version, of course). That's Ocean City, Maryland, BTW.

    And, they didn't even go through the usual bidding process. Here's a quote from the article: "Knight was one of four council members (Joe Mitrecic, Doug Cymek, and Lloyd Martin were the others) who voted in favor of the motion to allow MGH Advertising to design the town’s new website without going through the usual Request For Proposal (RFP) process in late October to the tune of $178,000."

    In the article they definitely "tout" the increased traffic of 25,000 visitors since Monday's launch. But, that also do not emphasize the fact that on Monday they launched the TV ad portion of a $3-million advertising campaign - which promotes the site, audibly and in on-screen print. Here's a sample of one of the 30-second TV spots: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bo3SvwqJZtM

    As someone who works in that market/niche, I find a couple points in the article a bit disturbing.

    Your thoughts? (WooHoo? Ouch?)
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  2. #2
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
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    I am not a web designer but Ouch? I say over billed and somebody knows somebody.

    -Tiled beach boardwalk tiled backgound? Newbie design from the '90s
    -The nav bar drop down in light blue is hard to read
    -The black font in center and at bottom with the light blue links also hard to read

    -Some of the graphics are nice
    -The beach scene graphic at top is ok

    Is Rodney the only lifeguardin that town?
    Where is the LifeGuard Girl?

  3. #3
    Grandma broke her coccyx! Uncle Rico's Avatar
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    Can I bid on the next website upgrade?

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador ladidah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorge - JRami
    I say over billed and somebody knows somebody.

    -Tiled beach boardwalk tiled backgound? Newbie design from the '90s
    My exact thoughts.

    The retro design is OK but the text need to be on white.

    Way overpriced.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Rehan's Avatar
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    http://www.mdcoastdispatch.com/artic...cid=30&id=5007 says:
    The price tag was deemed about middle of the road after research from numerous people in local government and town staff found the figure to be not only on par with what competitors paid for a new state of the art website, but actually ended up being a bargain as some resort towns similar to Ocean City paid more than $200,000 for new websites, in some cases, not even getting all they wanted.
    I think for what they got, the price was pretty fair... If you want a professional design firm to build a site like that, it's not going to be cheap.

    Yes, you could pay less and get fewer 'features', but when you're paying millions of dollars to drive people to the website you don't want to waste that opportunity.
    --

  6. #6
    As a web designer, I feel they paid about the right price considering the scope of the project. Yes, you may be able to find a talented web designer who could put together a look for less than that, but sites like this one usually require hiring a team of people (graphic designer, 1-2 programmers, editor, project manager, etc).

    Websites built for small government initiatives often go for much more than that - but again, they usually require a team, not just an individual.

  7. #7
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    How much would you spend on a car? ($500 or $18,000 for a used car? $9,500 or 48,000 for a new car?)

    How much would you spend on a dress? ($20 or $100 for a casual-wear dress? $150 or $500 on a fancy dress? $300 or $5,000 for a wedding dress?)

    How much would you spend on a book? (20 cents or $1 at a library book sale, $4 or $10 at the used-book store, $14.95 or $25.95 at a bookstore? $15 for a used textbook? $65 for a used textbook? $140 for a new textbook?)

    How long is a piece of string?

    It all depends.

    • Does the web site project include multiple iterations of meetings with bureaucrats to try to define the goals and requirements?
    • Does it include compliance with a laundry list of procurement and sub-contracting rules?
    • Does it require incremental approval of project steps by bureaucrats?
    • Does it include licensing any required third-party technologies or obtaining rights to display copyrighted materials?
    • Does it actually include specification, design, and implementation of a new database, along with creation of a user interface to manage the database and the web site?
    • Does the site require multiple user and administrative levels for city staff?


    The problem with a traditional government "bidding" process for this kind of project is that it was probably not defined well initially, and many competent developers would never waste time creating a complex proposal and bid, knowing that the project will likely be assigned to a cheaper bidder who will then use the unsuccessful bidder's proposal to move forward.

    The lowest bidder is fine for commodity products and for clearly-defined work. It doesn't work at all for complex customized projects whose initial scope isn't clearly defined. (In such situations, the initial "low bid" is gradually buried under the cost of an endless series of "change orders.")

    This doesn't mean that this particular project price was fair for the specific work done -- I don't know what work was done. Nor does it mean that potential contractors for a complex project or one that requires incremental definition cannot be done more openly than usually occurs.

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    After looking at it, yeah I would say a bit overpriced.
    178k is the equivalent of someone working @ $20/hour over 4 years.

    $20/hr is more than many jobs pay (airline pilot? http://www.buffalonews.com/home/story/670974.html?imw=Y)

    OTOH, It is a lot better than the old site you see on archive.org

    More to come: "The site as it looks currently is only in its first stage"
    And I guess its all relative, compared to 3M spent in adv., just a drop in the bucket.

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    As Mark pointed out, it's not only about the backend & technical issues, but dealing with a bureacracy, politics, compliance, licensing, etc. I'm not crazy about the design, to me it's bland and not even good retro.

    Now maybe it's because I'm from NJ, but I think Asbury Park got retro right:
    http://theasburyparkboardwalk.com/
    Renée
    Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz

  10. #10
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghoti
    http://www.mdcoastdispatch.com/artic...cid=30&id=5007 says:

    I think for what they got, the price was pretty fair... If you want a professional design firm to build a site like that, it's not going to be cheap.

    Yes, you could pay less and get fewer 'features', but when you're paying millions of dollars to drive people to the website you don't want to waste that opportunity.
    Personally, I think 178k is well over.


    They could have come up with something like this for 20-30k
    http://www.onlyinsanfrancisco.com/
    Easy to update, user friendly and easy on the eyes.

    For the oceancity, if you do not have flash and the right version, you are screwed.
    I know a person who did a website at Wyndham requires XYZ plugin and XYZ flash, so that cause a bunch load of $hit when they launced as that eliminated a lot of people.

  11. #11
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    As it turns out I'm lovin' this new ad campaign by the city of Ocean City. I have a "sound-alike" site to the one they are now committed to advertising on TV and radio. Not a typo or a squatter type name, but actually a more "descriptive" name than the one they are using for Ocean City (which is totally different than the one they promoted last year). It has been basically undeveloped for the last five years - and it makes a few consistent sales - but now the TRAFFIC HAS NEARLY TRIPLED THIS WEEK. WooHoo!

    So, I've got some serious development work to do this weekend! From what I've seen the city has committed $3.7 million to advertising through the end of August. Am I a happy camper right now or what? You betcha.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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